Do you hate planks more than political ads?

Last summer, I learned that in England, the time-frame leading up to the election of the Prime Minister is one month. 

One. Month. 

Without getting into politics, I think we can all agree that shortening the lead up to the Presidential Election by three years and 11 months would be awesome. 

I digress. The one think I dislike about as much as listening to political pundits and ads, is planking. 

The plank position (think push up position but with your forearms flat to the ground) is an often used core exercise, ideal for people of all fitness levels. 

And I'll tell you what, planking is about as much fun as sliding down a razor blade into a pit of salt. Because unfortunately, as useful as the exercise is to improve core strength, it can also be brutally boring. 

And when you get bored, you think about other things. And when you think about other things, you forget about form. And breathing. And when you forget about form and breathing, you hang on your lumbar spine (lower back) and eventually face plant in to the turf because you quit breathing 90 seconds ago. 

So in the interest of keeping your face and lower back happy, here are a couple of anterior core (front of your stomach) options that include the plank position, but with a little variety that might cut down on the boredom.

I won't say fun. That's overstating it. 

Or you can also try this variation, performed with sliders (or paper plates under your feet), and a couple of dumbbells. 

So how do you know if it's time to progress to one of these variations? If you are able to plank with good form (hips not too low, but not too high) for five breaths, then you're probably ready to add some variety to the exercise.